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A ticket to Hatfield

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Juliana Hatfield's angelic performance on an 1994 episode of "My So-Called Life."
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OKLAHOMA CITY – Watching an episode of American Pickers recently, pickers Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz were “pickin’” on an Oklahoma man’s property. At one point there was a reference to this man somehow being connected to the Hatfield-McCoy families and their famous, late-19th century feud.

And over a century later the Hatfield-McCoy feud (1863-1891 along the mountainous West Virginia-Kentucky border area) has remained firmly in the American consciousness, primarily because it says so much about America and our obsession with honor, justice and vengeance.

This famous feud seems to come up a lot in pop culture. From Bugs Bunny cartoons to The Flintstones and countless references in television and film, the Hatfields and McCoys and their battles are still raging, it would seem.

That said, it was interesting to learn that the daughter of New England radiologist Philip M. Hatfield – singer-songwriter, former Blake Baby, Evan Dando love interest, and Gen X poster girl Juliana Hatfield – claims that they are descended from the West Virginia Hatfield clan.

Maybe. Maybe not. The “Hatfield” name is enough. Derived from the name “Heathfield” in England’s Somerset and/or Sussex regions, the first Hatfield to come to the new world was Thomas Hatfield in 1620.

In any event, Boston rocker Juliana Hatfield made an appearance in a dream recently due to her being one of my favorite singer/performers of the 1990’s (and today). Her album Become What You Are, with the Juliana Hatfield Three, was a major album for me in the summer of 1993 – 20 years ago. This is the one that featured the alt-rock hits “My Sister” and “Spin the Bottle” (featured on the Gen X touchstone film Reality Bites). It also features the song “President Garfield” (“I’m saying something really deep. I’m saying something really deep…”). And we should note that Hatfield's earlier band were the Blake Babies. Could this be a reference to William Blake, poet of the occult? The Devil, after all, in Blake's "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell" is rebelling against an authoritarian deity. Blake was seen as a precursor to Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud. The Beat poets loved Blake. Hatfield is a Blake baby, indeed.

President James A. Garfield, of course was our 20th president. Become What You Are came out 20 years ago. An important number for Red Dirt Report is 1881. It happens to be our Post Office Box number at the post office downtown. It is the year President Garfield entered the White House as president and do you want a postal sync? Here’s one for you: During Garfield’s limited time in office, Garfield managed to initiate reform of the Post Office Department's notorious “star route” rings and conspiracies. Post Office corruption was rife and Garfield, before his assassination on July 2, 1881, did a lot to clean up the Post Office.

Of course it was the crazed Charles Guiteau who tried to murder President Garfield with his British-made .44 caliber Webley Bulldog revolver. Of course there is an undeniable John Lennon sync here. Lennon’s 1968 song “Hey Bulldog” and the 1966 album Revolver are said to be clues to Lennon’s assassination just under 100 years after Garfield’s assassination. Lennon’s assassin, Mark David Chapman, used a .38-caliber revolver.

When Guiteau shot Garfield, the wounded president exclaimed: “My God! What is this?” It would be two months before the stricken commander-in-chief would succumb to his injuries, having said before his death: “Oh! Why am I made to suffer this cruel wrong?”

Of course with the John Lennon sync comes the whole “Juliana/Julian/Julia” sync. Julia, of course, was Lennon’s mother and a song about her – “Julia” – is on the 1968 release known as the “White Album.” Julian was his Lennon’s first son, and a talented man whom Lennon never really took time to know.

Syncing with Julian Lennon, just yesterday, Julian ended his “Timeless” photography exhibit. And at the same time we learn that John Lennon’s (whose 73rd birthday is tomorrow) star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (a “star route”?) was defaced. While it took some work, the graffiti on Lennon’s star was cleaned back to pristine condition. As Hollywood Chamber of Commerce spokeswoman Ana Martinez said: “I yelled out ‘Help! We need somebody.’ And they were there.”

They were.

And in the Beatles 1965 film Help!, the Fab Four find themselves on their 007 (John Dee?)-esque romp in the Austrian Alps. This is where they signal with their arms “NUJV,” not “HELP.” The song in the Alpine adventure scenes is the Beatles classic “Ticket to Ride,” an early favorite for this Beatle fan. More on the “ticket” …

So, was “ride” actually “Ryde,” an Isle of Wight town known for carnivals and their rides, like the “Helter Skelter”? Funny that Roman Polanski and Mia Farrow (Lennon’s “Dear Prudence” comes to mind …) have both been making the news as of late and “Faul” … err … Paul McCartney recently performed “Helter Skelter” with 90’s alt-rock kings Nirvana, minus dead frontman Kurt Cobain, of course … Juliana Hatfield Three’s Become What You Are was charting just as Nirvana’s final studio album In Utero (where you become what you are, of course) was released 20 autumns ago …

And the year before Become What You Are was released, Hatfield’s ’92 solo album Hey Babe featured the song “Nirvana,” where she sings; “Here comes the song I love so much / Makes me wanna go fuck shit up / I got Nirvana in my head / I’m so glad I’m not dead.” Now, would that be Kurt (1994) or Paul (1966)? Another song on Hey Babe, "Get Off Your Knees," has he angelic Hatfield embracing a darker side: "Get off your knees and repeat after me / The devil rocks my soul / Accept the fact that he didn't die / And you'll begin to go."

And just today, we see a bloody murder-suicide in Winston County, Alabama (Ono!) where the sheriff describes the scene thusly: "It looked like a 'Helter Skelter' Hollywood movie scene. I had 30-year veterans shaking their heads."

Winston County gained notoriety for fighting secession during the Civil War and opposing the Confederacy. It's county seat? Double Springs. I wonder if Faul, err ... Paul, has heard about this awful tragedy.

Hatfield, based in Boston, Mass., continues releasing new material. In fact, three days before November 1st – All Saint’s Day – her new musical collaboration with Nada Surf’s Matthew Caws – Minor Alps – will release their debut album – Get There - with shows crisscrossing America throughout November, that magical month. The lead single is “Buried Plans.” I buried plans?

In the dream I am taken by the idea that I had a ticket – a golden ticket – to see the girlish-voiced rocker perform a concert on November 1st, the day after Halloween and known as “All Hallows Day” “Hallowmas” or “All Saint’s Day” – a Holy Day of Obligation for Catholics. My ticket to ride came in dream form.

As one reader suggested, Saint Juliana may be syncing here. Saint Juliana was martyred with her brother Paul in 270 C.E. at the hands of third-century Roman Emperor Aurelian. Like President James Garfield, Emperor Aurelian was known as a reformer in his day. He restored public buildings, managed food reserves, set fixed prices on good and, like Garfield with the post office officials – “prosecuted misconduct by the public officers.”

And, like Garfield (who served in office for 200 days before Guiteau’s bullet struck him), Aurelian was assassinated in Thrace while marching towards Asia Minor. Garfield, we should note, was a Civil War general.

In the dream, which incorporated what looked like a battle along the African coast, stretching from the Suez, down to the coast of Mozambique, incorporated Atlantean-like rock/islands. Could they be the Seychelles? Clearly there was something “battle”-like about these images I was seeing. And then, after I wake up, I see that America is engaged in some war-like tactics in this very region.

In a 1994 Christmas episode of the Claire Danes cult classic My So-Called Life, Juliana Hatfield appears as a guitar-playing homeless angel with Army boots that have holes in them. Angela (angel?) wants to help out this girl, not knowing she is an angel – at first.

Author Chris Brooks, in the book Dear Angela: Remembering My So-Called Life, talks about the magical realism of this classic episode featuring the waifish Hatfield and the earlier surreal Halloween episode. At one point the author notes how “angels are mediating spirits … agents of communication.”

As we have noted here before, Elizabethan occultist John Dee (007) and his colleague and scryer Edward Kelley embraced Enochian magick and the occult and angelic language associated with it. Angelic conversations, as it were …

In 1581 (300 years before Garfield’s death and 400 before Lennon’s), after all, Dee said God had sent “good angels” to communicate directly with prophets. My So-Called Life’s good-hearted Angela saw Hatfield’s character as a “good angel,” ultimately. And the message was received.

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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